The project Interspecies Assembly by artist group SUPERFLEX for ART 2030 opens during the United Nations General Assembly, seeking to draw attention to biodiversity and the critical role of the ocean—particularly to the region known as the twilight zone—to the global climate.
Interspecies Assembly will feature two public works: a nightly projection of the filmwork Vertical Migration onto the façade of the United Nations’ signature glass and marble tower in New York, and the sculptural installation Interspecies Assembly in Central Park’s Naumburg Bandshell.
The project Interspecies Assembly by SUPERFLEX for ART 2030 brings together leading partners from art, science, and policy, including TBA21—Academy, The United Nations, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and Google Arts & Culture
Biodiversity is collapsing, sea levels are rising, marine life is threatened, and the weather is becoming more extreme. Human activity, as reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is now unequivocally linked to climate change. In the face of this crisis, the artist group SUPERFLEX has created the project Interspecies Assembly, comprised of a film and a sculptural installation that will be shared with the public from September 21st to 24th, coinciding with the UN’s General Debate.
Interspecies Assembly emerges from SUPERFLEX's in-depth research into the deep sea, climate, and biodiversity. The project will feature two artworks: a projection of the video Vertical Migration onto the United Nations Secretariat Building, and the participatory installation Interspecies Assembly near Central Park’s Naumburg Bandshell. This project has been commissioned by ART 2030, a non-profit organization uniting art with the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, and supported by TBA21—Academy, the leading art organization dedicated to ocean advocacy.
Vertical Migration is a dramatic, 505-foot (154-meter) video installation that draws attention to the role that the ocean plays in sustaining the world’s biodiversity and climate. From 8-11 pm EST every night from September 21st to 24th, a representative from the animal world will travel up from the deep sea to visit the UN. The filmwork will cover the entire north-facing marble façade of the United Nations signature 39-story tower, inviting humans to meet one of the many species we share our planet with.
Vertical Migration focuses on a siphonophore: a symbol of the many working as one. A siphonophore is not a single animal but a colony of specialized marine organisms that work together to enhance group survival. These amazing colonies can grow to immense sizes: some longer than the largest blue whale. This particular siphonophore is a creature of the ocean twilight zone, the “mesopelagic” or midwater region just below the ocean’s sunlit surface zone. This global swath of water extends hundreds of meters into the deep and plays a critical role in the ocean’s web of life.
Vertical Migration is commissioned by ART 2030 and TBA21–Academy, and is supported by Avatar Alliance Foundation, Dalio Philanthropies and OceanX, in partnership with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), New Carlsberg Foundation, The Obel Family Foundation, Beckett Fonden, and Danish Arts Foundation. WHOI and its partners are investigating the role of the twilight zone in the ocean’s biological carbon pump: a massive, planet-scale process that captures carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and moves it down to the deep ocean, keeping it out of the atmosphere for hundreds or even thousands of years.
Vertical Migration is developed in close collaboration with Kollision.
The sculptural installation Interspecies Assembly will be a physical gathering site to nurture dialogue between species. It will be situated under the protected Elm trees by Central Parks’s Naumburg Bandshell. Manhattan’s largest green space is also home to an array of flora and fauna: turtles, ducks, chipmunks, fish, as well as over 230 species of birds and many thousands of trees. Open to the public from September 21st-24th, a series of pink marble sculptures will demarcate a space in which humans must temporarily slow down and actively listen to their co-species.
The architecture of the artwork arises from SUPERFLEX’s ongoing investigation into interspecies living. Exploring the shift towards a more symbiotic relationship with other species, the gathering site responds to sea-level rise across our planet. The pink coral sculptures incorporate the textures, colors, and forms that will best support a thriving and biodiverse aquatic life in a possible underwater future, while the arrangement of the sculptures in a broken circle evokes the feeling of circularity without the comforting completeness of a ring, implying the need for both consensus and disagreement. The Interspecies Assembly is a porous meeting place where visitors of all species can enter and exit from any direction.
Collaboration with Google Arts & Culture
Experience it online! A digital exhibition developed in collaboration with Google Arts & Culture—bringing together contributions from partner institutions and experts on oceans, biodiversity, climate change, and more—is launching alongside the opening of Interspecies Assembly:g.co/siphonophore
Use your phone to bring an Augmented Reality siphonophore — the central figure of Vertical Migration— into your living room, learn about what makes this creature so special and about the importance of biodiversity, alongside the story of the work’s artistic development. Furthermore, don’t miss a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the Interspecies Assembly sculpture and a recorded conversation between Professor Carsten Rahbek (GLOBE Institute, University of Copenhagen) and SUPERFLEX. The collaboration provides a wealth of educational resources and explorations into the topics of biodiversity thanks to contributions from Google Arts & Culture partners, including: Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Libraries and Archives, Underwater Earth, Berenice Pauahi Bishop Museum, The United Nations, and Museum für Naturkunde Berlin.
SUPPORTERS OF INTERSPECIES ASSEMBLY
Interspecies Assembly by SUPERFLEX for ART 2030 is a project that features the works Interspecies Assembly and Vertical Migration. The project is generously supported by New Carlsberg Foundation, The Obel Family Foundation, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, The Ministry of Culture Denmark, Beckett Fonden, and The Danish Arts Foundation.
Vertical Migration is commissioned by ART 2030 and TBA21–Academy, and supported by Avatar Alliance Foundation, Dalio Philanthropies, OceanX, in partnership with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, New Carlsberg Foundation, The Obel Family Foundation, Beckett Fonden, and Danish Arts Foundation.
The Interspecies Assembly project was developed in close collaboration with Kollision and KWY.studio.
ART 2030’s Biodiversity Focus is generously supported by the Hempel Foundation.
With thanks to the United Nations Department of Global Communications and the Consulate General of Denmark in New York.
Currently on show
Like A Force Of Nature 25.08.21-16.10.21 Solo exhibition at Nils Stærk Copenhagen, Denmark
The exhibition Like a Force Of Nature features two artworks, Like a Force Of Nature and Investment Bank Flowerpots, that explore the almost ecstatic disorientation produced by the intricacy of the natural world and dizzying economic systems.
Like a Force Of Nature is on show at gallery Nils Stærk, Glentevej 49, 2400 Copenhagen.
Hummings 14.08.21-26.9.21 Group exhibition at KØS Museum of Art in Public Spaces Køge, Denmark
Last chance to see the Dive-In featured in the exhibition Hummings at the KØS Museum of Art in Public Spaces in Køge, Denmark, which is closing on the 26th of September. Juxtaposing fiction and poetry with the urban and rural geography of Køge, Hummings presents 17 art projects by national and international artists, writers, and thinkers. The Dive-In film is screened every night between 20:00-23:00.
On Wednesday the 22nd of September 18:30-20:30 there will be an on-site conversation in Danish between SUPERFLEX artist Bjørnstjerne Christiansen and curator and KØS director Ulrikke Neergaard, followed by a screening of the film. See more details on the event here. To see the full program please visit koes.dk.
Hummings is on show at Søndre Havn, Køge Marina, and the city centre, Køge, Denmark.
Naturen Taler 03.09.2021-02.01.2022 Group Exhibition at Sorø Kunstmuseum Sorø, Denmark
Two works by SUPERFLEX, Every End is a New Beginning IV and Hunga Tonga, are featured in the exhibition Naturen Taler at Sorø Kunstmuseum, which opened on the 3rd of September 2021. The exhibition is the first of a series of exhibitions regarding communication between plants and animals, visualized through the artworks of both Danish and international artists.
Naturen Taler is on show at Sorø Kunstmuseum, Storgade 9, 4180 Sorø.
Being Human Permanent exhibition Exhibition at Wellcome Collection London, UK
SUPERFLEX’ film Flooded McDonald’s can be seen in the permanent exhibition Being Human at Wellcome Collection in London. The exhibition explores what it means to be human in the 21st century. It reflects our hopes and fears about new forms of medical knowledge, and our changing relationships with ourselves, each other, and the world.
Flooded McDonald’s is on show at Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, London NW 2BE.
It is not the End of the World 27.06.2021-24.10.2021 Group Exhibition at Fundazain Nairs Nairs, Switzerland
SUPERFLEX’ work It Is Not The End Of The World is a part of the group exhibition by the same name at Fundazain Nairs in Switzerland, which examines a possible future without the human species inhabiting planet earth.
It is Not the End of the World is on show at Fundazain Nairs, Nairs 509 PF 71, 7550 Scoul.
Dive-In in KØS Museum of Art in Public Spaces
The Dive-In is being featured in the exhibition Hummings, opening the 14th August at the KØS Museum of Art in Public Spaces in Køge, Denmark. The word "humming" can refer to a wide range of phenomena: from the noise produced by machines to the sound of gas oozing through the tectonic layers of the Earth to the mating call of a midshipman fish in the ocean. Hummings offers us a chance to imagine a language connecting all beings, animate or inanimate.
SUPERFLEX’s Dive-In is an installation that functions as a drive-in cinema for humans, but will become infrastructure for marine life when sea levels rise.
The Dive-In film will be screened at 20:00.
The Humming is on show from 14th of August to 30th September 2021 in Søndre Havn, Køge Marina and the city centre, Køge, Denmark.
Exhibition dates: 14th August – 30th September 2021 To see the full program please visit koes.dk
Dive-In was originally commissioned by Desert X in collaboration TBA21–Academy with music composed by Dark Morph (Jónsi and Carl Michael von Hausswolff).
Developed in close collaboration with KWY.studio.
Amidst a global pandemic and growing environmental concerns, it is clear that our human existence is fragile and deeply dependent on the common ecosystem we share with all species on Earth. Interspecies Café is an extension of SUPERFLEX’s artistic practice that aims to explore our symbiotic relationship with the natural world to address the pressing challenges of our time.
SUPERFLEX recognizes the power of the collective and, with this, the need for a radically deeper understanding and internalization of multifaceted perspectives. Collaboration and knowledge-sharing play a foundational role in the development of SUPERFLEX’s recent works, where specialists across the fields of marine biology, conservation and art have joined forces in order to imagine a future world fit for submersion.
These collaborations have and continue to play a pivotal role in developing SUPERFLEX’s interest in Interspecies Living. Interspecies Café thus extends the invitation for engagement at the crossroads between science and art. Through podcast conversations with selected experts: Dr. Alex Jordan, Professor Rikke Andreassen, PhD Fellow Katarina Hovden and certified hypnotherapist Tommy Rosenkilde, SUPERFLEX hopes to encourage dialogue which ponders the possibilities for coexistence in a world that is fit for us all to thrive.
Interspecies Café is supported by Statens Kunstfond, Bygningsstyrelsen, and Roskilde University.
Sound engineer: Kruzh'em
Super Reef: A New Kind of Urbanism
Sometimes, the best way to care for other species is to collaborate with them on new projects. In that spirit, SUPERFLEX is working on a master plan to build at least 55 km2 of reef along the coast of Denmark. Super Reef is a large-scale collective undertaking involving scientists, fish, marine biologists, policy makers, local communities, and seagrasses. Together we can increase biodiversity, clean the air, boost the fish population, make art, and imagine forms of symbiotic living.
Over the last century, Denmark has lost huge areas of stone reef. Humans have extracted tons of stone for construction and coastal protection, decreasing biodiversity and leaving parts of the seabed as empty as a desert. Reefs are crucial partners in a flourishing world: not only do coastal ecosystems help prevent erosion, they have the potential to remove carbon dioxide from the air even more efficiently than terrestrial forests.
Because underwater creatures like variety, just as humans do, Super Reef will be constructed from a range of materials, from repurposed stones to specially-designed fish-friendly pink bricks. Acknowledging the importance of an interspecies perspective, SUPERFLEX is including marine life in both scientific and aesthetic decisions. Perhaps algae can tell us what they want, if only we learned to listen.
Humans built our cities with material taken from the ocean, and now we are developing a sculptural infrastructure to build cities for fish. Super Reef is a new kind of urbanism, premised on an expanded notion of collaboration and knowledge-sharing: between humans as well as between species.
Super Reef is a project derived from the Deep Sea Minding research which was originally supported by TBA21-Academy.
Vertical Migration and Pink Elements in MAAT, Lisbon
The works Pink Element no. 1/Revolving Corner, Pink Element no. 4/Penthouse, Pink Element no. 7/Corner District and Vertical Migration are currently part of the exhibition Aquaria – Or the Illusion of a Boxed Sea. The exhibition will open to the public in MAAT, Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology until September 6th 2021.
Aquaria is an exhibition that looks at how the ocean has washed up inside our cities, homes and cultural institutions, and questions how we have interiorised the notion of an ocean kingdom. Invented in the Victorian age, the aquarium as object embodies the nature/culture divide, and continues to constitute an ocean diorama, a self-contained world and a techno-natural assemblage, home to a living collection mirroring our own personal yet fictional marine world.
Curated by Angela Rui, the exhibition path unfolds through 11 installations by artists, designers, filmmakers, composers and researchers, each offering different points of view to emphasise how the ways of understanding the marine environment were once envisaged and how they should be reconsidered today.
Pink Elements consists of varying sculptural configurations of pink, coral-friendly bricks. The bricks are materially aligned with the needs of underwater creatures, and their pink colour is scientifically known to propagate coral polyp growth. Though angular in shape, each brick houses more organic forms within, porous enough for fish and other aquatic species to burrow.
The bricks are thus a work of architecture in their own right, but hold the potential to be reconfigured to suit human habitation. When presented on dry land in human spaces, the elements appear as stand-alone sculptural objects, or as structural fragments of existing human architecture – such as a corner or column. But when submerged in an aquatic environment, these structures will be repurposed by marine creatures. A pillar for humans today is a future penthouse for fish.
Pink Elements are based on the Deep Sea Minding research, supported by TBA21–Academy.
Interspecies Assembly SUPERFLEX x ART 2030
On World Wildlife Day, we are delighted to announce our upcoming collaboration with ART 2030: Interspecies Assembly
Against the backdrop of this critical moment of time – in which humans are waging war on nature, biodiversity is collapsing, and human activity is at the root of Earth’s descent towards chaos - Interspecies Assembly will mark the very first gathering of human and other species on earth, to address the future of our planet and promote interspecies dialogue and cooperation. The mission of Interspecies Assembly: to urgently lay the foundation for peace, harmony, and the right to a strong and sustainable future for all species on planet Earth. The project addresses today’s most urgent issue of protecting the diverse ecosystems and many forms of life across the planet, that are fundamental to global progress and achieving all Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
Further details of Interspecies Assembly to be announced.
Interspecies Assembly is supported by New Carlsberg Foundation, The Obel Family Foundation, TBA21– Academy, Beckett Fonden, and Danish Arts Foundation.
Our Relationship with this planet has had an enormous impact on its ecosystem, to the extent that we may soon reach the end of our journey. But this also means growth, new exchanges, and, with rising sea levels, the vertical migration of different and new life forms. Perhaps we should see this as an opportunity to reimagine one end as a new beginning.
Engagement with planetary challenges such as biodiversity loss goes beyond a scientific understanding of the phenomena; it requires a cultivation of care and an emotional connection. Great art can make us feel and connect to these complex issues: it can be the agency of change. Great art can affect course of history for all lives. And the time is now.
– Luise Faurschou, Founder and Director of ART 2030